#222: The Tolbooth Tavern, Canongate, Edinburgh

The Tolbooth Tavern, Canongate, Edinburgh (exterior)

The Tolbooth Tavern looks pretty impressive from the outside, obviously a very old construction. It is “part of the original Canongate Tolbooth which was built in 1591,” where tolls were collected from travellers entering the town.

The Tolbooth Tavern, Canongate, Edinburgh (exterior)

Inside it’s quite… taverny, but somewhat contrived, with a large assortment of drinking vessels around the walls, gargoyles, carved coats of arms, busy carpet and big flags of UK nations on the ceiling. The carved wooden bar is lovely, I hope it’s not fake. There are two levels with the bar down at street level and a raised mezzanine at the back with a wooden bannister.

It wasn’t busy, but wasn’t dead either. The folk up the back ordering food looked like tourists, and the folk down by the bar looked like locals. There were maybe 8 to 12 folk in besides us. Tuesday night rules apply, i.e. it’s fairly typical to be quiet on a Tuesday. Are you tired of hearing that yet? The music wasn’t really appropriate for a “tavern”, pretty annoying pop cack that even Russ didn’t like. Imagine that!

I normally blur faces out of the photos on this site, but in the photo at the top of the page I felt like I had to share this guy’s beaming smile, clearly his best photo face. I didn’t notice on the night, only the other day when preparing the photos. He looks like a local to me.

It’s a tennanted Star Pubs (i.e. Heineken) joint.

The Bar

The Tolbooth Tavern, Canongate, Edinburgh (interior, bar)

Cask: Caledonian Flying Scotsman and Deuchars.

Keg: Fosters, Guinness, Strongbow, McEwans 70 and Red.

The round was £12.80 for 3.5 pints of Flying Scotsman, so about £3.65 per pint.


We had our tea here on this visit, everyone opting for burgers I think. I don’t remember it being particularly cheap, but prices on their website indicate that it’s only £6 for a burger. This is backed up by zomato too. It’s a sad day when a £6 burger seems cheap. The rest of the menu was traditional pub grub, the most expensive being fish & chips at £8.


Saturday night karaoke and live music, Sunday night pub quiz. At least 1 puggy.

Castle View



Website: www.tolboothtavern.com
Facebook: Tolbooth Tavern-Edinburgh


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